EuroAirport: Switzerland and France adopt a joint statement

Bern, 22.01.2015 - Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter and the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius adopted a joint statement regarding the taxation issues surrounding EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg on Thursday 22 January 2015. This is an important step towards an agreement between the two countries, both of whom seek to guarantee legal certainty and maintain the appeal of the airport – an economic hub, important employer and vital infrastructure within the region spanning France, Germany and Switzerland.

EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg is a French-Swiss public-sector body established by the Convention on the Building and Operation of Basel-Mulhouse Airport of 4 July 1949 and is located on French soil. After having found a solution regarding the labour law applicable to the airport’s Swiss customs sector with a framework agreement in March 2012, Switzerland and France have been holding discussions since May 2013 particularly with regard to taxation issues, which also concern companies active in the sector.

The joint statement adopted by the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Mr Burkhalter, and his French counterpart, Mr Fabius, on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, contains benchmark principles for the following four areas:  1. direct taxation of companies; 2. indirect taxation; 3. taxation of the French-Swiss public body; 4. compensation plan of the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) in connection with the Swiss sector. These principles form the basis for a solution to be implemented in 2015 or at the beginning of 2016 at the latest.

The joint statement adopted on Thursday stipulates that these different areas together constitute the elements of a legal solution to be adopted by France and Switzerland. The head of the FDFA welcomed the adoption of this document. “This is indeed an important step. The partners are thus committed to continuing their efforts to arrive at a definitive and long-term solution guaranteeing the future of the airport and the large number of jobs depending on it”.

During his visit to Paris on 30 October 2014 as president of the Swiss Confederation, Mr Burkhalter raised the issue of the EuroAirport with the French president, François Hollande. Both called for a quick solution to the unresolved issues surrounding the international airport, noting the importance of the site in terms of transport infrastructure and as an employer in the Upper Rhine region. In total around 6,000 people are employed by the airport, more than 4,500 of them by some 60 Swiss companies in the airport's Swiss sector. The airport is the second-largest employer in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace.

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